Recently I was contacted by a company called Owly Packs out of Quebec Canada. I had never heard of them but after a quick search, I saw that they had some really cool products and were working at some serious innovation in camping gear.
They offered to send out one of their Tent-Hammock Hybrids to test out and review. The idea of a tent/hammock to me is really great. And their tent-hammock really has the wow factor when you look at it too. I knew this was something that I just had to try out for myself.
The Owly Packs Tent Hammock Hybrid is a combination tent and hammock.
It comes with everything you need to set it up as a two person tent or string it between two trees for a two person hammock.
The difference in set up between the two options is surprisingly small. Swap out the stakes for tree straps, remove one center pole, and you’re hanging in the trees.
Pros and Cons of the Owly Packs Tent Hammock
There is a lot going on with the Owly Packs Tent Hammock. It has some great pros and some cons that buyers need to be aware of before buying.
- The hybrid idea is awesome. I love the idea of bringing a hybrid and being able to set up as a tent or a hammock.
- Switching from a tent to a hammock or hammock to tent takes only a couple of minutes.
- Set up is easy and intuitive, though the first time can take a while.
- Storage pockets for the stakes, hammock tree straps and tent poles are all built into the hammock tent.
- The Quality of construction is superb.
- The curve of the hammock is comfortable and the interior is spacious even when in hammock mode.
- The mosquito netting and waterproof materials are nice, but these days should be considered a standard feature.
- No Vestibule on the tent for changing or storing gear.
- The Rainfly doesn’t hang over on the hammock giving you an area to cook, change, or store gear.
- The gap between trees that works is very specific and does not allow much variation.
- The Tent-hammock is heavy. It weighs in at 7.6 lbs which I think is just too heavy for most camping trips.
My Experience With The Owly Packs Tent Hammock
I tested out the Owly Packs Tent Hammock at my local park. The first time I set it up in hammock mode and it took me about 30 minutes to unpack, read the instructions and figure everything out.
After setting up the first time, subsequent set ups only took between 5 and 10 minutes.
There were a few things I noticed right away about the hammock.
One, the straps are really short. This makes it so you need a perfect set of trees to set up the hammock. I actually think this could be a problem in many locations. Even in my local park it took me 4 different locations before I found a set of trees that worked perfectly for this hammock.
I would definitely recommend upgrading your straps to give you more hanging options.
Second, the rain fly doesn’t extend out past the hammock at all.
My Hennessy Hammock is my current go to hammock for hammock camping. On this hammock, the rainfly extends out past the hammock enough where I can set up a camp chair, cook and store my gear all under this on rainfly.
With the Owly Packs Hammock, you will need to set up a second rainfly in order to have space to sit, cook, and chill.
Switching To Tent Mode
Switching from hammock to tent mode is surprisingly easy. It took me roughly 5 minutes to take the hammock down from the tree, insert one extra pole along the top of the tent and stake it into the ground.
On the ground, the tent is very similar to most other two person tents I’ve used.
Again though, I wish that the rainfly would extend out and give me a vestibule area. I find this really important when out camping. It is where I store my gear and take my shoes on and off.
Once you find a good set of trees for the hammock or get the tent set up, the Owly Packs Tent Hammock is a quality piece of gear. I had no problems sleeping in the hammock since it was big and comfortable and there is a nice storage pocket along the top which I found to be quite convenient as well.
Why Choose a Hybrid Tent-Hammock
A Tent-Hammock Hybrid is a really great idea in my opinion. There are lots of pros and cons to sleeping in a hammock and sleeping on the ground. But when you’re out in the real world, often times the terrain is going to dictate what the best solution is.
Maybe the ground is slanted and uneven, so sleeping in a tent would be uncomfortable. In this case, set up the hammock and enjoy.
But maybe your campsite doesn’t have big enough trees, the trees aren’t close enough together, or there simply are no trees nearby. Then set up the tent and you’re all set.
Having the ability to choose which option is right for each campsite is a great idea and one that I hope Owly Packs continues to explore and improve upon.
Features Of The Tent Hammock
Ease Of Use
The Tent Hammock was a bit confusing the first time I set it up to be honest, it took me roughly 30 minutes to set up the first time, but I was reading the instructions, finding poles and learning how everything works.
After one time going trough everything, I was able to set up the hammock or the tent in roughly 5 minutes. Switching between the two also only takes about 5 minutes.
Everything on the tent hammock is quite easy, but you will need to read through the directions since some things were new to me with the hybrid idea.
Weight is probably my biggest issue with the Owly Packs Tent Hammock. This thing is heavy! It weighs in at 7 lbs 6 oz, which is on par with a $50 Coleman 2 person tent.
If I am going to spend over $300 on a tent or hammock, I expect it to be much lighter.
Most tents in this price range are going to weigh around 3-6 lbs. If you want to spend a bit more, ultra-light tents will weigh barely over 3 lbs.
So it’s a bit heavy for a tent. But for a hammock, its really heavy!
Most camping hammocks are going to weigh between 2-3 lbs (like the Hennessy Hammock) with some going all the way up into the 4-5 lb range. But I haven’t seen any over 7 lbs.
Packed size is my second biggest drawback next to weight. This tent hammock is big and takes up a lot of room in your pack. It’s packed size is easily twice as big as most tents in this price range and 3 times as big as most camping hammocks.
In my opinion a tent-hammock hyrid should open up options for your camping trips. You should be able to take it anywhere. Sadly, the pack size and weight kill this for me.
Now, in all fairness, the pack size and weight aren’t terrible. It’s just heavier and bigger than what we have come to expect in today’s market. 10+ years ago, this would be considered light and small!
If you have the room and can afford the weight, I still love this product!
I’ve only had my tent-hammock for roughly 1 month, but after inspecting it as best as I can, this is a high quality product. I don’t see any stitching or durability flaws that would prevent me from purchasing the tent-hammock.
Functionality is where the Owly Packs Tent Hammock shines. The ability to choose between a tent setup or a hammock setup is really a great idea.
I’ve been out tent camping and had to sleep on uneven ground while the perfect hammock trees were laughing at me.
I’ve also been out hammock camping and had to set my hammock up 100′ away from the campground because there weren’t any good trees nearby.
A larger rainfly / vestibule area would complete the functionality for me and put this into a whole new level.
Alternatives To The Owly Packs Tent Hammock Hybrid
Finding an alternative to the Tent-Hammock hybrid is tricky. What is considered a fair alternative?
Should I be looking for a tent and hammock that together cost $323 or less? Or should I be looking for a tent in the $330 range and a hammock in the $330 range?
For $350 You Can Buy An Big Agnes C Bar 2 Tent and Hennessy Hammock Expedition Classic.
I own a Big Agnes C Bar 2 and I love this tent. I consider it entry-level for high-quality ultralight tents. It weighs 4 lbs even and costs $199.
The Hennessy Hammock Expedition Classic is going to cost you $150 and weighs 2 lbs 12 oz.
Together that is a cost of $350 and a total weight of 6 lbs 12 oz. Very similar to the Owly Pack Tent Hammock.
Is The Owly Packs Tent Hammock Right For You?
The Owly Packs Tent Hammock is awesome, but for a tent, it’s a bit heavy and for a hammock it’s really heavy and big. But, it is well made and give you options when out camping.
This isn’t something I would pack on any lightweight camping trip where every pound counts and every square inch of pack space is at a premium, but I would bring it along on a family camping trip, hunting, or any other trip where weight and size aren’t a top priority.
The Final Verdict
If Owly Packs could add in a vestibule and extend the hammock straps all while dropping the weight and pack size, this could be one of my all time favorite products. Now, I don’t know if what I am asking for is even possible, but it’s incredibly close to a game changing product and I am super excited to see what is next for Owly Packs!